“There seems to be an effort in recent months to bring them closer together,” Mr Ahern said yesterday of the Real IRA and Continuity IRA. “There seems to be cross-fertilisation; it may be more to do with acquaintances or family membership than ideology. But nonetheless it is a more worrying trend because clearly their capability is growing.” While the two main groups were co-operating it also appeared a wider dissident coalition was emerging. This included a number of small splinter groups and a handful of republicans who had up until recently been committed to the political process.
Mr Ahern said the Real IRA and Continuity IRA both have “significant pockets” of membership in the Republic. However, the terrorist attacks witnessed in the North in recent months appeared to have been organised there. “The threat here I believe on this island is as dangerous as it was at any time during the Troubles,” said Mr Ahern